Hello, beautiful, I’ve missed you

Written on Apr 15th, 2019 by , Category Training

By Marlene Farrell

Spring running reacquaints me with old friends. They’ve been patiently waiting for me, shedding white winter coats, displaying their muddy browns with wild abandon.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had running dates with Icicle Ridge, 4 the Boys, Rosy Boa, the ditch, Freund Canyon, Mountain Home, Saddle Rock and Sage Hills.

Those foothills!

I’ve missed them — it’s been five or six months.

They haven’t missed me, but kindly lead me along old familiar trails. I notice the differences, mainly because I’m not going very fast. There are scruffy patches where rocks have tumbled onto trails, branches sag low and puddles look up at me with watery eyes. In Freund, snow clings to a few remaining shady patches, biting ankles raw with crusty teeth and teaching me to not be so optimistic.

I try a little flattery. Oh, how beautiful! Spring beauties, glacier lilies, bluebells, yellow bells and balsamroot. I smile at the small thunder of a grouse’s flight, the crescendo of a chorus of frogs and the tracks left by bear and coyote. I try to quiet my footfalls when a meadowlark serenades, its notes bouncing off the hillsides.

I wind my way upward, and strip off a long-sleeve to feel the sun’s soft warmth on my bare arms.

The tread is forgiving. I can plant each foot, one after the other, over and over in slow repetition, my muscles relaxed and able to go much longer than expected. It was just a month ago that I ended my daily skis and started running in earnest.

And when I finally caught a winter cold a week or so ago, the trails tolerated my hacking and farmer’s blows. Somehow, the adventure of revisiting favorite trails distracted me from feeling sorry for myself.

I will run these trails, and more, all summer long. We will both change. I’ll be down to shorts and tank tops, while the hills will dress in lush finery. I’ll carry more water as it abandons its need for gushing creeks. I’ll have to share these places with more and more people, all loving the trails in their own way.

I’ll remember this first visit of the year is always so sweet, because it reconnects me with a dear place. I also find my trail running self, swinging the door open to what spring means to me.

Marlene Farrell is a writer, long-distance runner and coach. She lives in Leavenworth.

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